ITEM 9. Contributions by the Commission to the work of the Economic and Social Council, in line with General Assembly resolution 72/305, including follow-up to and review and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Chair: Welcome to the last day of the Plenary session. This morning, we will continue our agenda with items 10 & 11. And as all of you know, the Committee of the Whole has been meeting intensively over the past few days. Discussions are ongoing. The Chairman of the CoW will give us a signal when the work in the CoW is ready to be put to the Plenary as per normal procedure. Timing wise, that probably implies that between the end of this meeting here, this morning, and 17:00, there will not be a Plenary. I’m going to adjourn until the Committee of the Whole is ready. At the earliest, this will be at 17:00. Let’s proceed with what we can.
Fazaldad Human Rights Institute: I speak on behalf of the KHF. We welcome the work of CND as a commission to support the implementation of the 2030 agenda. The CND has made valuable and substantive contributions to the HLPF to draw attention to the world drug problem and the resolution passed by the CND. We recommend the HLPF to follow the resolutions to the General Assembly. The work in achieving the SDGs and to address the world drug problem is complimentary and mutually reinforcing. Drugs intersect with all 17 SDGs, in particular goals 1, 2, 4, 5, 8 and 16. We would highlight that sitting on one of the world’s busiest trafficking corridors, being home to millions of youth, has hard challenges to protect its youth from taking to drug use. Strengthening and promoting prevention as the leading weapon to address 21st century drug trafficking is the most effective tool against this scourge. The COVID pandemic has meant that youth are more exposed to drugs given easier access. KHF requests CND to bolster its contribution to the work of ECOSOC and achieving the SDGs by supporting widespread use of prevention education among youth, particularly in education institution. Prevention is the best approach and tool to break away from the drugs menace. We must target the drug menace when it targets young people. Prevention and knowledge is the only safeguard against drugs and to build self-defence for youth to avoid getting trapped in drugs. 2022 is the time to measure where we’re heading. This will be a valuable contribution to advance prevention. Thank you.
TRANSFORM Drug Policy Foundation / Instituto RIA: Distinguished delegates, my name is Jorge Herrera Valderrábano, and I am speaking on behalf of three civil society organizations, Instituto RIA, TRANSFORM drug policy Foundation and Acción Técnica Social, doing research and social projects to highlight innovations in drug policies that are grounded in health, human rights and sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda is a UN effort to design guidelines to address shared problems across countries. It sets goals such as ending poverty and hunger, ensuring quality education, reducing inequalities, generating responsible forms of production and consumption, as well as building peace, justice and strong institutions. Contrary to these principles, the current prohibitionist policy regarding drugs is based on exclusion, discrimination, criminalization and an ever growing illegal market. The consequences of prohibition do not allow progress in achieving the SDGs. Research has demonstrated the relationship between the attainment of the SDGs and drug policies, explaining the ways in which legal regulation based on sustainable development and social equity could contribute to their compliance. Some countries are already recognizing the failures of the prohibitionist policy such as the Netherlands and Portugal, that years ago decriminalized the possession of various psychoactive substances. Others, such as Switzerland or Germany, have turned to look at the issue from a public health and human rights approach, even implementing programs to supply medical heroin. Uruguay, Canada, jurisdictions in the United States and several European and Latin American countries have chosen to provide access to cannabis for both medicinal and personal purposes, by regulating the production and commercial availability of the plant. Communities that grow cannabis, coca leaf and poppy plants are situated between the extortion by armed groups and the violence exercised by the State, and we have the opportunity to end criminalization, and bring them out of poverty and closer to basic services. Drug prohibition has impeded our capacity to solve the multilateral problems and global challenges that our societies are facing. The war on drugs and punitive policies are consistently pushing us away from the Sustainable Development Goals. It is urgent to change the paradigm and explore public health and human rights centered approaches, including regulatory models, to achieve international and national health and development commitments based on the goals set by the UN. Reduction of violence, agroecological production techniques, creation of mechanisms of social justice, dignified health, evidence-based education, reduction of inequalities, democratic trust and institutional strengthening: legal regulation with social justice can contribute to a more peaceful and egalitarian society.
ITEM 10. Provisional agenda for the sixty-sixth session of the Commission
Chair: Are there any requests from the floor to this agenda item? I see none. Let us now move on to the penultimate agenda item for this session which is item 11. Other matters.
ITEM 11 Other Business
Chair: The Secretariat have not been informed of any other matters that delegations want to bring to the floor.
Pakistan: We want to make a small statement in order to clarify and the small one statement which which was made by an NGO. So, is it the right timey to do that now? I seek your guidance.
Chair: Sure, go ahead.
Pakistan: There were some incorrect and infactual comments made by an NGO on the smuggling of heroin from Afghanistan, being processed at the eastern border and then sent to southern city of Karachi and then it goes again to western borders. This is without any base of evidence and reality and we consider it to be a politically motivated statement and thus we cannot accept that. That is why we always say that the NGOs should make statements which are relevant and based on certain facts. Actors, law enforcement agencies, including our courts, are very vigilant and we have reported interruption and seizure of large quantities of heroin transiting through Pakistan, duly verified by the UNODC. As far as questions of political division in Afghanistan is concerned, I would like to say that it was zero in year 2000… We seized 6400 tonnes (sic) in year 2021. And the question is who is responsible? That is a point to ponder and to look into it. At the end, we’d like to request you, Mr. Chair, and NGOs to make statements after consulting the concerned state and after verification of the facts. Thank you.
VNGOC: Excellencies, friends, ladies, and gentlemen, I have requested the floor under ‘Any Other Business’ jointly on behalf of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs, the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the UNCAC Coalition, and the New York NGO Committee on Drugs. We want to raise an issue that is not necessarily Vienna-based, but has a huge impact on our work here at the CND. In order to formally access CND meetings, make statements, submit written submissions, or organise side events, an NGO must first obtain consultative status with ECOSOC. Applications for this status are reviewed and decided upon by ECOSOC’s “Committee on NGOs”: a panel of 19 elected member states across the regional groupings. It is of serious concern to us, as NGO committees, that there has been a significant downturn in the proportion of NGO applications that have been accepted through this process. This has also been commented on by the UN Secretary General, who said, and I quote, “continued deferral of applications of non-governmental organizations for consultative status has, in some cases, amounted to de facto rejection, especially in cases related to organizations working on human rights issues”, end quote. Indeed, recent research has indicated that nearly half of the drug-related NGO applications were ‘deferred’ in 2021 – meaning that the application is put on hold pending the answer to questions posed by member states on the Committee. In some notable cases, NGOs have been deferred for multiple years – dozens waiting for four years or more, and some more than a decade – often from spurious questions with little relevance to their eligibility. For this reason, we, as Vienna- and New York-based NGO Committees, joined around 350 other organisations in signing an open letter from the International Service for Human Rights calling for a transparent and competitive election process. We raise this here today as the elections for the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs are fast approaching in April. We urge you, as member states, to work with your New York representatives and engage in this important process, to help ensure a Committee that will support, rather than hinder, civil society participation at the UN. As the CND shows, civil society has an indispensable role to play in global, regional, and national responses to crime, corruption, human rights abuses, and the world drug situation. There are clear benefits to all of us in ensuring civil society space at the UN, and we respectfully ask for your attention and support on this important issue. For those interested, a fully referenced version of this statement is available on our website: vngoc.org. Thank you.
Chair: Thank you everyone. When the CoW is ready to come to the Plenary, we will reconvene. I adjourn the meeting now and invite you back for 5pm. We will then take stock as to where we are.